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HS Robotics Students Display “Drive” for Excellence

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Despite the unique and challenging aspects of 2021, the students of West Islip High School’s robotics team saw an opportunity to sink their teeth into a difficult design and manufacturing project. Members applied lessons learned from the fields of mechanical design, computer aided design, manual and CNC machining, and metrology to design a specialized drive system called “Swerve Drive” for their robot.

Working alongside professional engineers, robotics team members developed a concept for a drive system capable of powering their robot in any direction. They began with a hand-drawn concept sketch and used CAD to create a digital model of the module. From that digital model, team members manufactured all of the components using industrial machinery in the high school’s robotics lab including both manual and CNC milling machines, lathes and even 3D printers. After many weeks of effort, a final prototype was successfully tested, giving the team new confidence and a set of skills that they will be able to take advantage of as next year’s competition season approaches.

“It is quite amazing what the robotics team was able to accomplish in such a very different type of school year,” said Brian Buonomo, lead teacher for engineering technology. “The team has always risen to the occasion to lead our students to success and 2020-2021 was no obstacle for them at all.”